Surface Neo, being a new form-factor device that it is, brings about a lot of novel new features. Well, if this patent is anything to go by, a virtual touchpad could be another new addition for the machine.
There are signs that the Surface Neo is getting a super-efficient virtual touchpad that will pack in extra functionality, as well as automatic support for multiple input modes. Essentially, these are all steps Microsoft is taking to enhance the user experience of its upcoming device.
This patent describes the technology that expands the functionality of virtual on-screen trackpads.
“The disclosed technologies address the technical problems described above by augmenting the functionality provided by virtual on screen trackpads without requiring users to switch between modes. In this way, users can access extended functionality without interfering with expected traditional trackpad functionality.”
The term used here is modless, which in this context means that the user will not have to switch between input modes to utilize the extra functions that will be available to them.
Basically, this new breed of trackpad is designed for a two-screen hinged device that looks like a traditional laptop. But as Microsoft notes, traditional virtual trackpads are limited in how they don’t support the full functionality of their physical alternatives.
In other words, you can only perform certain basic functions on these virtual creations like moving the cursor, scrolling, and clicking.
But the technology Microsoft is proposing should let you do much more — all without changing the mode of operation.
The virtual trackpad will autonomously distinguish between touch and digital pen input. Plus, this new technology also consumes less computing resources like system memory and processor prowess to function than earlier implementations.
Sounds like a win-win!